The Inkameep Day School Art Collection

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This rare art collection was created by children of the Osoyoos Indian Band who attended the Inkameep Day School, near Oliver, B.C., on the Nk’Mip Reserve. Between 1932 and 1942, these students and their teacher Anthony Walsh worked together to create drawings, paintings, stories and plays that honoured traditional Okanagan language and culture.


The arts became a way for the students, aged six to sixteen, to depict their everyday realities and evolving sense of identity. Their world was complex, layering Okanagan tradition and stories, old and new ways of life, an evolving agricultural economy and North American popular culture.


Anthony Walsh’s approach to teaching and learning through the arts was very unusual for his time. For Walsh, the arts provided a way to connect with the students, earn their trust and learn about them in order to be a better teacher for them.

 

The art and drawings tell a very different story from those of many First Nations school children in the mid-twentieth century who were sent away to residential schools that focused on the suppression of Native language and culture. This collection gives rare insight into how these children lived their daily lives and saw their world.



View the Collection

Drawing on Identity


Inkameep Day School Art Collection

The Virtual Museum of Canada provides a comprehensive look at the history of the Inkameep Day School. It contains a gallery of the artists' work as well as an audio and video catalogue.

Virtual Museum of Canada